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December 19, 2015
IBS is characterized by changes in motility of the bowel, localized inflammation of the bowel, SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrown and gut hypersensitivity. These signs and symptoms can be triggered and aggravated by sensitivities of food, medication, stress, activity and presence of bacteria, yeast and other factors affecting the environmental make-up of the bowel. There are numerous other causes of IBS that are suspected but not fully understood at this time.
Probiotics are defined as “live organisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” This definition is from the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, An Introduction to Probiotics. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/probiotics/
Probiotics are live organism that offer potential health benefits for those suffering from gastrointestinal conditions. Benefits have been remarkable when using fecal transplant, taking fecal material from a healthy person and transplanting that sample into a severely ill patient. the benefits are believed to be due to the probiotics present in the healthy individuals fecal material.
The beneficial effects of probiotics are to suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria, improve the health of the lining of the bowel, improve the immune response that begins in the gut, secrete short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that improve the health of the bowel, improve gut motility and when fermenting fiber in the bowel produce butyric acid which nourishes the gut cells and is protective against the development of cancer.
Lactobacillus and Bidifobacterium species have been the most widely researched to date. A beneficial commercial probiotic is considered to contain various strains of multiple "live" species. The key component of a "good probiotic" becomes verifying the product contains live organisms at the time of consumption.
Research of probiotic strains has shown positive outcomes with regard to IBS symptoms. Further research will lead to understanding the specific species benefits and dosages necessary to maintain good colon health. Probiotics are not considered drugs so they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Association (FDA).
December 12, 2015
Some of the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) include bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These are the primary symptoms, those directly related to the dysfunctional gut.
What about other symptoms that are frequently experienced by IBS sufferers? Those include fatigue, irritability, depression, brittle nails, low bone density and sometimes rashes of the skin, specifically, lips, mouth or anal area.
Today I’ll focus on fatigue. Fatigue in IBS can be two fold. Fatigue can be related to the mal-absorption of nutrients but it may also be related to fluctuation of blood sugar.
Many suffering from IBS have found certain foods tend to trigger their symptoms. Over time IBS symptoms tend to increase in number and severity. As the sufferer attempts to remove suspect foods from their diets they may be robbed of minerals, vitamins, fiber, protein or other necessary elements of food providing energy production and a feeling of vitality.
Also, inflammation of the gut lining associated with IBS can hinder proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients needed for normal functioning by the body. For example, irritation or inflammation of the stomach may cause decreased stomach acid production which will decrease calcium absorption. If this continues over time osteopenia and/ or osteoporosis may be the end result.
Another consideration is an increased amount of sugar and processed foods in the diet will undermine the normal ebb and flow of insulin from the pancreas. Sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods in the diet will cause daily cycles of energy followed quickly by fatigue and irritability. This is known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be managed by dietary changes and targeted supplementation but the gut must be healthy first.
For more information download my Free report “7 Reasons the Foods You Love Don’t Love You.”
Fatigue and Irritability after Eating; Hypoglycemia and Pre-Diabetes
December 5, 2015
Over the last couple weeks I’ve had more than a few clients complain of feeling very tired, forgetful and even angry between meals. They can feel the changes taking place in their bodies and with their emotions but they didn’t know if was related to the food they are eating and their body’s ability to turn it into energy.
This is what happens: we eat; our food is digested and turned into energy, known as blood sugar, which is released into the blood. This signals the pancreas to release insulin which will allow the blood sugar to enter into a cell giving it the energy it needs to function.
Diets which are high in sugar and low in fiber and protein will lead the pancreas to take longer to release insulin than it should normally take. This allows the blood sugar in the blood to rise higher than normal. Continued release of insulin causes the blood sugar to rush into the cells but the insulin level continues to rise. This will cause a blood sugar “crash” as there is insufficient blood sugar left circulating.
When your blood sugar drops, so does your energy, your ability to think clearly and your ability to control your emotions, this is known as hypoglycemia. This phenomenon also occurs when someone misses a meal. The blood sugar is so low that the cells don’t have the energy they need which will also cause the same symptoms of fatigue, mental fogginess and emotional upset.
These highs and lows of blood sugar fluctuations can continue for years. A fasting glucose level and A1c should be completed to aid with the diagnosis. These are simple blood tests. Stabilization of blood sugar levels can be accomplished through targeted supplementation and making better dietary choices.
Are Gas, Bloating and Belching Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner? Why the foods we love make us miserable.
Nov 20, 2015
Ahh, Thanksgiving, the anticipation of turkey, stuffing, gravy and…heart burn. Americans purchase more antacids between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at any other time of the year. Overeating can be partially to blame but why are our favorite foods making us sick?
Indigestion includes symptoms of heartburn, belching, gas, bloating, nausea, constipation and diarrhea. Research reveals that 25% of adults rely on antacid use to calm indigestion. While twenty percent of individuals taking antacids have been doing so longer than ten years.
Heartburn and indigestion usually occur soon after eating. Many people experience belly pain and fullness within an hour after eating. This is when the organs of digestion; stomach, pancreas and gallbladder are working hard, producing acid and enzymes to digest your meal. Insufficient digestive juices will cause a buildup of pressure, gas, causing distention and pain.
Common client complaints have been, “After I eat I get this tight band around my belly.” “When I’m done eating, I get pain under my ribs.” “I don’t get gas but I sure do burp a lot.”
Back pain may also flair due to irritation of the nerves of the digestive system. Abdominal discomfort can refer pain to the back, frequently between the shoulder blades.
Don’t live with the pain and embarrassment of bloating, gas and belching, help is available. Learn the cause of your discomfort. Enjoy your holidays without these uninvited guests.
Causes of Bloating
Bloating is a common digestive experience but why does it occur?
Nov 8, 2015
Bloating is due to the upper digestive organs attempting to break down and absorb nutrients from the food we eat. Once food is chewed and swallowed it travels to the stomach, where acid helps soften proteins and fats to pass through the digestive tract. The food then passes to the small intestine where the gallbladder and pancreas go to work.
The gallbladder releases bile to break down fat from the food we’ve eaten. The pancreas releases enzymes that help breakdown fruits and vegetables (carbohydrates), meat and fish (proteins) and also fat. These acid and enzymes are released within the first 1-2 hours so our food can be digested allowing the small intestine to be able to absorb the necessary nutrients needed for us to thrive.
Fatty foods are a particular burden to the gallbladder but also stress the pancreas. A diet primarily consisting of high fat foods is common as a cause of bloating. Fat mal-absorption may occur over time due to a diet high in fat and/or when the person’s gallbladder becomes inflamed.
Symptoms related to gallbladder disease can include bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, and pain under the right ribs of the abdomen. Symptoms also include passing large amounts of foul smelling gas, right upper back pain which gets worse after eating a fatty meal, stools that float or the appearance of oil in the toilet after having a bowel movement.
These symptoms will progress and worsen over time and may lead to gallstones and possible gallbladder removal surgery. Individuals, whom have had their gallbladders removed continue to have difficulty digesting fatty foods even though their symptoms of pain and nausea subsided post surgery. The symptom was removed, but not the cause!Lack of a gallbladder puts a greater burden on the pancreas, the only other organ capable of digesting fats.
Changing the diet to eliminate fats and targeted nutritional supplementation can be helpful medicine for bloating and a necessary step in trying to avoid this eventuality. Have you been diagnosed with an inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis) or been told you should have your gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy). Natural medicine for bloating, which targets gallbladder inflammation, can be a helpful alternative to the nausea and pain you are experiencing.
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy food” ~Hippocrates
Throughout history the greatest threat to health and well-being was infection. Plague and influenza could wipe out an entire community.
Today our greatest causes of death are due to heart disease, cancer and other chronic preventable lifestyle conditions. We may be killing ourselves with our choices and we may not even know it.
Recent scientific discoveries have found the key to anti-aging and disease prevention is to address chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation treatment is necessary to subdue and potentially reverse chronic activation of the immune system.
Food should nourish our bodies but certain foods cause inflammation, weakening our body’s defenses. When inflammation triggers our immune system, a defense is mounted to attack and kill off the invader. This system works wonderfully against parasites, bacteria and viruses but if inflammatory foods are eaten frequently this leads to chronic pain and inflammation.
Food allergies are an IgE immune reaction typically causing symptoms such as hives, stomach pain and shortness of breath. The most common food allergies are to nuts, shellfish, dairy and wheat. Approximately 4% of the United States population is thought to suffer from food allergies.
This long term exposure to inflammatory foods can lead to joint pain and inflammation. This is when the immune system is trying to fight off inflammation but starts to attack the body’s own tissues and organs. This can lead to a myriad of symptoms. Blood testing for food intolerances can help identify and remedy many of these symptoms, such as dry mouth and eyes, headaches, skin disorders, fatigue, digestive issues, knee pain, weight gain and behavioral issues.
Food sensitivity is a non-IgE immune reaction and is predicted to be prevalent in 70-80% of Americans. If a health care provider does not realize the potential symptoms that can be related to food sensitivity inflammation the patient may actually be treated for various unrelated disorders and not respond to care. Steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications may be used for an extended time without symptom improvement. Prolonged use of steroids can potentially compromise a challenged immune system even further. Chronic inflammation treatment should include identifying the dietary causes of the inflammation and removal of the offending foods.
An elimination diet and provocation response can prove to be beneficial for isolating out suspect foods causing inflammation. The downfall of the elimination-provocation diet is twofold. It is very time consuming and client’s must keep a detailed and exact listing of foods they have consumed over a three week period. Also, frustration is common among the client and health care provider due to “hidden” foods that are consumed and frequently inflammatory in nature, such as gluten and dairy.
While the elimination provocation diet has minimal cost it must be followed and detailed exactly over multiple weeks. Food sensitivity testing can be completed by blood testing and client’s can have results in about a week’s time. Blood testing for food sensitivity is more costly but results are quick and research is showing results of the testing are impressive at symptom improvement.
Are you suffering from chronic pain, inflammation or digestive disorders? Food intolerances may be to blame. Blood testing for food intolerances may be right for you!
The most common symptom of digestive upset is "The Bloated Belly." Clothes feel tight, nausea, burping are symptoms that make us feel miserable. What can I do? Why is this happening? Are common questions.
Food sensitivities are common causes of digestive symptoms. I use food sensitivity testing to determine causes of digestive symptoms and systemic inflammation. Inflammation is now suspected to be the culprit behind auto-immune diseases; such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and various forms of cancer.
Why are food sensititivities dangerous? A food sensitivity is irritating to our digestive system causing a localized inflammation. The more frequently the food is eaten the more chronic the inflammation can become. Our immune system responds to this inflammation to control it and keep us safe from infection. The longer the inflammation continues the longer and harder our immune system works to attack and minimize the inflammation. Continued consumption of irritating foods prolongs inflammation and our immune response.
It is theorized that 80% of Americans are sensitive to gluten and/or dairy. I can attest that during my years of experience, most clients results from food sensitivity testing do show gluten/gliadin and/or dairy to be the most frequent food sensitivities.
Are you experiencing gas, bloating or fatigue? Do you have a history of a chronic disease, auto-immune disease or cancer? Try removing gluten and dairy from your diet and going gluten and dairy free.
Removing gluten and dairy will be challenging. Gluten and dairy are found in many canned and packaged foods. To succeed you're have to clean your diet up and eat mostly meat, fruit, vegetables and grains that are not pre-packaged or processed in any way.
Rice is gluten free, so it's a good choice. Dairy free milk alternatives are more prevalent now such as almond, soy and coconut milks. They're not the same taste or consistency as milk but they are much more available than ten or fifteen years ago.
Give it a try for 3 weeks, no gluten or dairy, and see how you feel! Many clients have reported less joint pain; digestive bloating and gas; skin pustules or rashes and also a decrease in sinus issues and headaches.
Dr. Susan Plank
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Dr. Susan Plank's Chiropractic &
Norwin Wellness Center
10501 Station Street
North Huntingdon, PA 15642
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